TVF series for SonyLIV, Gullak 2, tells the story of the average middle-class household. Like every middle-class family, their house is run by a mother who is loud and yet loving. Actor Geetanjali Kulkarni, who plays the role of Shanti Mishra, believes that housewives in middle-class Indian households “need to be vocal in order to be heard by society and their families, which they would otherwise take for granted.”
After a successful first season, Kulkarni is delighted with the positive feedback from the critics of Gullak 2. In an interview with socialmediagossips.com, Geetanjali spoke about the relativity of the show, the role of a housewife and the importance of the shooting space.
Excerpts from the interview:
Gullak is very relatable to any middle-class family. How well can you relate to the show and your character Shanti Mishra?
The situations shown in Gullak are experienced by every middle-class household. Despite being a Maharashtrian from Mumbai, I grew up in a middle-class family and was able to relate fully to the story, characters, psyche, emotions and overall surroundings. The only difference was that the show is set in North India.
How did you get the nuances into the role of a middle-class housewife?
We have all seen situations like this in life. I grew up in a middle-class family so I have these qualities. The only thing is, I’m not just a housewife. I tend to channel my feelings through my work as well. But housewives only stay in one phase and constantly do something for others. Most of them don’t even get due, which is why they will likely have to be vocal to be heard by society and their families as everyone takes them for granted. I am very happy to represent such a character because I received messages saying that we could understand our mother better because of your character. We need to portray such characters so that socialmediagossips can empathize with women and the types of emotions they go through as housewives, as women, and as mothers.
The last scene of the second episode hits anyone who has closely watched the life of a housewife. How was it for you to portray that?
As a professional, I rarely face such a situation because I earn and spend my own money. But in a patriarchal society we are programmed to consult my husband before buying a dress or anything else. I think we should educate women to be conditioned to make their own choices. I like the second episode because Shanti Mishra makes her own decision to buy a blender, chooses his brand and pays for it herself. It’s such a small thing on the surface, but it’s such a big step when you look at it from a bigger perspective. The scene was so emotional for me that even today I still have tears in my eyes when I talk about it.
The show is still lighthearted and leaves you thinking at the end of an episode. How did you manage to show the two emotions: one from a contentious mother and one from a housewife who finally realizes her needs too?
All of the credit goes to our writer Durgesh who wrote it so well. This is also Gullak’s USP. It has all kinds of emotions. It’s carefree yet has incidents that will make you cry. It’s a heartwarming story.
You are a Marathi and the show is in a city in Northern India. Was it a challenge for you to understand this dialect of Shanti Mishra?
I am not very different from Shanti Mishra. There are, of course, some similarities. But I don’t yell at socialmediagossips all the time. (laughs) I wasn’t worried about the accent this season because I had practiced a lot in season one.
You mentioned that the house where Gullak was shot was a large item. Can you explain that in more detail?
In the theater or in the cinema, space is very important because it is a visual medium. If we had shot this show in a studio it would have been very different. But the house we shot it in had that warmth. There were challenges shooting as there was plenty of space, but the nostalgic feel the house had with the smell of the walls and the overall color palette clearly added to our performance. The kitchen was so small that it reminded me of a kitchen in any middle-class household. I believe the space gives the artist or actor the much needed motivation and helps them play the situation.
The first season of Gullak came out in 2019. How did the character come back for this season?
You know what? I also remember my dialogues from the first season today. When you learn through a process, it really seeps into you and it is very hard to forget. All the characters I’ve played so far, some of them are still inside me today. I don’t let my characters go lightly and the credit for that goes somewhere in my theater education.